Family Storks (Ciconiidae)

Least Concern

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)


French: Cigogne blanche German: Weißstorch Spanish: Cigüeña blanca
Other common names: European White Stork

Ardea Ciconia


, 1758,



Until recently considered to include C. boyciana, but these now universally accepted as two separate species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. ciconia (Linnaeus, 1758) – N Africa, Europe, W Asia and S Africa; winters mostly in tropical Africa and S Africa.
  • C. c. asiatica Severtsov, 1873 – Turkestan; winters mainly in India.
  • Descriptive notes

    100–102 cm; 2·275–4·4 kg; wingspan 155–165 cm. Large, mostly white stork with black flight-feathers and conical red bill. Males average... read more


    Silent away from the nest, practically mute. At nest, can utter a weak hiss. Adults often perform... read more


    A species of open country, frequenting a diversity of humid and dry habitats. Perhaps more closely... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet is very varied but entirely animal. Essentially opportunistic, taking whatever large invertebrates and small vertebrates are available... read more


    Season begins Feb–Apr in Palearctic, although overwintering birds or early migrants may visit their nests from Dec onwards. In Spain... read more


    Principally migratory. Migrants travel in flocks that may number 100s or even 1000s. Passage is... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Increasing, after period of marked decline. Bulk of population inhabits Europe, including Turkey and W Russia, which holds > 75%.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Elliott, A., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2020). White Stork (Ciconia ciconia). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 February 2020).